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Manuka Honey Shows Potential For Drug-Resistant Wounds

Honey bee on a flower (


Research at University of Wales Institute, Cardiff suggests that manuka honey can help reverse bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Cardiff biologist Rose Cooper will report on her findings this week at a meeting of the Society for General Microbiology.

Manuka honey is produced by bees fed on the flowers of the New Zealand manuka bush, and when applied topically, has been known to have antimicrobial properties. According to National Cancer Institute, manuka honey contains a high concentration of the compound methylglyoxal and may release small amounts of hydrogen peroxide, both of which contribute to its antibacterial qualities.

Cooper’s research group at Cardiff is investigating at a molecular level the ways in which manuka honey inhibits wound-infecting bacteria. They are looking specifically at how manuka honey interacts with three types of bacteria that commonly infest wounds: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Group A Streptococci, and Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Her group has found that manuka honey can interfere with the growth of these bacteria in a variety of ways and could offer an option for the treatment of drug-resistant wound infections. Cooper says that their findings “with streptococci and pseudomonads suggest that manuka honey can hamper the attachment of bacteria to tissues which is an essential step in the initiation of acute infections.” Cooper adds that blocking the attachment of bacteria, “also blocks the formation of biofilms, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections.”

To combat MRSA, however, manuka honey works differently. Cooper’s research indicates that manuka honey can make MRSA more sensitive to antibiotics such as oxacillin, and aid in reversing resistance to that antibiotic. As a result, existing antibiotics could be more effective against drug-resistant infections if used in combination with manuka honey.

Read more: Illinois Start Up Licenses Anti-Staph Infection Research

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